I-League: East Bengal beat Real Kashmir to keep title hopes alive
East Bengal are now second in the I-Legaue standings with 36 points while Real Kashmir are out of the title race with 33 pointsUpdated: Feb 28, 2019 16:31 IST
East Bengal registered a dominant 2-1 win over Real Kashmir in an almost empty Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in New Delhi on Thursday.
Thanks to the win, East Bengal are now second in the I-Legaue standings with 36 points while Real Kashmir are out of the title race with 33 points. However, a win against Churchill Brothers on Friday will be enough for Chennai City FC to clinch their maiden title.
With just three days to prepare for the match, the I-League authorities decided to make it a closed gate affair. The game was first postponed due to heavy snowfall in Srinagar and following the Pulwama terror attack and the unrest surrounding Article 35A, the All Indian Football Federation (AIFF) decided to host the match in New Delhi.
As a result, the support for the two sides was just restricted to the respective VIP areas and although they cheered relentlessly, it was a disappointing site to see the game being played in front of an almost empty galleries at the venue.
East Bengal looked in control of the match from the very beginning and it came as no surprise when Enrique Esqueda headed home from a Laldanmawia Ralte cross to hand his team the lead.
Real Kashmir were dealt another blow within eight minutes of the opener as Abednebo Tetteh was shown a straight red card. The Ghana forward was shown a yellow for tackling Jhonny Acosta but an altercation with the referee resulted in his dismissal.
East Bengal continued to launch attacks and they were rewarded once again just before the half time. Esqueda turned provider on this occasion as he provided a perfect pass for Jaime Santos to score the second goal of the match.
Things did not improve in the second half as both teams failed to create proper chances. Aaron Katebe, however, scored from the spot in the 68th minute to hand a lifeline to Real Kashmir but despite getting two good chances in the dying minutes of the match, the team from the valley was unable to stop the Kolkata outfit from clinching the encounter.